All About the Acronyms, Baby! (Keeping Up With the HENRYs?)

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As winter turned to spring, I was enjoying a walk around my school when I bumped into one of my colleagues. Apparently, word had gotten around that my wife and I had paid off my student loans in record time, even though I had only told one person. The employee offered me her congratulations, and I politely thanked her.

“Must be nice that you and your wife are DINKS,” she continued.

“Excuse me?” I questioned, doing a very poor job at trying not to appear insulted.

“What? You know. . . DINKS. Double income, no kids,” she quickly responded.

With many of my employees, I had developed a reputation as “The Money Guy,” so you can imagine my embarrassment over having never heard of this term before.

“Ohhhh, right!” I said. “You’re right; it is pretty nice.”

THE BENEFITS OF BEING DINKS

Being DINKs is pretty nice, indeed. Among the many benefits Mrs. Superhero and I experience as a result of our status, I value

  • Healthy discretionary income within our monthly budget
  • Freedom to do what we want on our own time
  • The ability to cash-flow unexpected expenses rather than raiding our emergency fund
  • Time and resources to spoil our two dogs
  • The ability to focus on our careers and side hustles
  • Frequent travel opportunities (even if we often decline the opportunities as they arise)
  • The ability to focus on our marriage and enjoy time with each other

Please don’t misunderstand me. My wife and I love kids. We are both educators, and Mrs. Superhero operates a very large and successful private music studio in addition to her public school teaching career. We spend more time with kids than we do with each other. There is a part of both of us that cannot wait to have children of our own.

However, we are currently striving to make the most of our DINK status. We are in full-blown hustle mode in the present because we know that children will occupy our time in ways which we do not yet fully comprehend (this will be a good thing). We know that children will bring us immeasurable joy, and that joy will be an asset greater than lavish sums of money, yachts, lake houses, and luxury vehicles (having never possessed any of these things before, I’m making assumptions). Right now, time is our asset, and we are seeking to maximize it while we are DINKs.

There’s just one problem.

The DINK acronym strikes me as personally insulting, though not for the reasons you’re likely expecting.

A meme which is accurate for some people - just not us
A meme which is accurate for some people – just not us

EVERY DAY WE’RE HUSTLIN’

The above meme is admittedly hilarious, and for me and Mrs. Superhero, it’s pretty accurate. That is, until we get to the final slide.

While the “DINK Life” affords many couples the freedom to pursue a wide variety of leisurely pursuits, Mrs. Superhero and I live a different kind of lifestyle.

As I mentioned, my wife is a public school teacher. Even if we (erroneously and hilariously) assumed that she worked only 40 hours in her day job, that would be respectable. As a fellow teacher, I know several teachers who put in 40 hours or less and appear beaten to a pulp at the end of every school day. Not my wife.

When the school day ends and many teachers are heading home, Mrs. Superhero enjoys a brief intermission before the “side hustle” begins. On any given day, she teaches private piano, voice, and flute lessons in our home music studio for 2-4 hours. She is a wise, self-made entrepreneur who runs a home-based business with minimal overhead. She also seeks opportunities to employ her superior piano skills by accompanying musicians at a variety of contests throughout the year.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s three “jobs.” She easily works over 65 hours per week.

Even though I write a sometimes-serious, sometimes-silly blog about my personal experiences with money, I hate talking about myself, so I’ll keep this section brief. I am a public school teacher by day, financial consultant by afternoon, and blogger by night. In a matter of weeks, I will also add part-time real estate broker’s agent to my work slate.

DINKsSide note #1: Can anyone comment on the legality of using my HSA funds to have a coffee IV port permanently installed in my left arm?

Side note #2: I used to try to fight my inner-workaholic, but now I have given up and chosen to embrace this tendency.

Scoreboard: Four “jobs” for me.

Our combined total: Seven “jobs.”

Since the acronym SINKs (single income, no kids) is already taken and is not eligible to denote “seven incomes, no kids,” I’m going to go ahead and coin a new term for those couples who have multiple income streams and no kids:

MINKs.

Multiple incomes, no kids.

I should probably trademark that one and put it on a T-shirt before someone else beats me to it.

OTHER ACRONYMS

This piece would be incomplete without a survey of other money-related acronyms. Here are a few of my favorites:

HENRYs – High earners, not rich yet

SINKs – Single income, no kids

SISSI – Single income supporting spouse’s interests

DINGO – Dual incomes, never go out

DINE – Dual incomes, never enough

MAID – Master (of) Arts, infinite debt

ERROR – Empty refrigerator, running on ramen

HAGGLE – Hired after graduation, got lucky everyone

(not writing the acronym because you, dear reader, are smart) – Financially unaware college kids

SHORT-TERM SACRIFICE FOR LONG-TERM GAINS

I am certain that many readers have completely misunderstood me and Mrs. Superhero by now. On the surface, it may appear to some that we are greedy, senselessly money-driven, and maybe even self-obsessed.

Over the years, I have learned that it is not actions alone, but the underlying motivations of one’s actions, which are deserving of scrutiny.

In this sense, I believe we pass the test.

My wife and I aren’t working and earning to inflate our current lifestyle, live it up in the present, and run the risk of burn-out. No, we are sacrificing in the short-term in order to build our ability to focus on what is truly important to us five, ten, and twenty years from now. In a culture which places the highest value on instant gratification, we are embracing the opposite.

Once in a while,  when it feels like I’m burning the wick at both ends, I like to hit the streets for an evening run and clear my head. Invariably, my thoughts drift and I begin to form visions of the future: our future kids playing in the yard, sending them off to college without any debt, walking my daughters down the aisle on their wedding days, and taking the entire family, grandchildren included, on a two-week getaway to Disney World. Those thoughts are the magical panacea for my weariness.

In the moment, those visions represent the future, but it is a future worth working for and waiting for, even when it is difficult. On the particularly tough days, I recall one of my favorite Zig Ziglar quotes:

It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.


Readers, what are your favorite money acronyms? Which one best describes your current situation? Do you have any suggestions for new money acronyms?

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30 thoughts on “All About the Acronyms, Baby! (Keeping Up With the HENRYs?)

  1. We are OIOKs (One income one kid) for right now before we graduate to TIOKs in a month when my wife goes back to work part time. I always thought there were too many acronyms out there and now you have added to the madness 😉

  2. I love the acronyms.

    And I think it’s smart to work and save as much as possible before kids. I have two. And they are the two greatest kids in the world. I am not biased. Everyone tells me so – my parents, my wife’s parents, etc.

    But seriously, not only is it much easier to save money when it’s just the two of you, once you have kids, your time is no longer your own. My perception is that most part-time bloggers either haven’t had kids yet or their kids are already grown. There is probably a reason. It’s tough to work a full-time job, take care of your kids, and try to make money on the side.

    Do as much as possible now. And when you have them, enjoy your children even if it means sacrificing a little of the side business income. They’re only young once.

  3. Another nice article, Hero.

    “In a culture which places the highest value on instant gratification, we are embracing the opposite”… This seems to be the true test of character today. To really live it takes dedication, humility and humor.

    Thanks for exemplifying how to do it elegantly.

    Love that “financially unaware college kids” acronym, by the way!

  4. We are DINKs for now – but will definetely have kids in the future. We are enjoying our time and saving a bunch of money. Every month I feel more prepared mentally and financially to have kids (Time will tell if that is a reality one day!)

    If this blog thing works out maybe we will move into MINK status.

  5. The acronyms are hilarious! We’re definitely MINKS based on these descriptions and will probably stay so until we retire. I love kidsm too, but teaching them (I’m a teacher, too) during the day is just fine with me (quiet home life allows me to be creative at home.)

  6. That’s a great meme and some hilarious acronyms, I hadn’t heard of many of those before. Right now we are dual income, one kid. Sounds like you minks are doing things right, very impressive!

  7. The HENRY is a great status to be in order to become a HEAR (high income and rich). It’s just a matter of time and smart management once you’re a HENRY. Fun post Hero!

    1. HEAR has a nice sound to it, doesn’t it? *cue rimshot*

      Thanks for commenting, Brian. I try to keep things laid back around here once in a while. 🙂

    1. Thanks for the words of wisdom, Aaron. We’re watching our siblings go through the adventure of having children and cherishing our freedom while we still can!

  8. Love the DINKS thing. I have never heard of that before! That is great. I love the side hustle you both have. My husband and I are very similar. We both have jobs (he is full time, I am part time) we have a side real estate business, he works for our township and is a board member for a homeless shelter in our area. I have the blog as my side hustle. I don’t have any fun acronyms but I love this and now I need to come up with my own:)

  9. Those are great acronyms! Maybe we are SIRS – single income rich soon – hopefully!

    Great job taking advantage of your time as DINKs, once the kids come you’ll be glad you have the financial cushion and peace of mind!

  10. I love the ERROR acronym, haha. I wasn’t familiar with the term DINK until last week. Someone commented with the term on a blog post I was reading and I at first I thought it meant idiot or someone who is dumb, haha. Now I know.

  11. I am a SAHM although with the blog I suppose you can call me a WAHM. As a family we are generally a SITK which doesn’t spell anything pronounceable. We were DINKS for about 6 years and I wish we had taken advantage of that time more. You are doing the right thing with your MINKS status! I enjoy reading about it!

  12. Hello! I worked for Boeing for several years and thought I learned every acronym out there. Wrong! 🙂 I would consider my husband and I DINGOs. Working on becoming MIFs – multiple income family? Haha. Even my 7 year old daughter is starting to “side-hustle” by selling books, lemonade and bracelets. I love the part about hustling now to focus on what’s important later.

  13. DINKSFinance.com was actually the first blog I worked for and the site is still going strong! I absolutely love being a DINK and honestly I think that both DINKs and SINKs should delay having kids as long as possible because there are so many advantages, especially financially.

  14. These are lovely! I had never heard of a HENRY.

    I think anyone who assumes you are bad because you are hustling like mad right now is silly. Working your butt off is not a character flaw by itself.

  15. Being a DINK is a better acronym than being an OINK (One Income No Kids).

    I’m not sure that your colleague was trying to insult you, or that you should feel insulted by what she said. Unless you didn’t say some of the Convo, (and depending on her intentions) she may have just been trying to state an observational fact that your household has 2 incomes and no kids. Like Financial Slacker said, kids can take up an enormous amount of time, making time for side hustles (on top of a full time job, having a good relationship with your partner, commute time etc etc). Also, even if you were successfully juggling your current MINK status, plus kids, then there’s just that added expense. If you have $100k income and $50k expenses, 50% savings rate, fantastic well done! There have been many, many studies done about how much kids cost, so lets say on average an extra $5k a year for food, clothing, extra bedroom in your house etc.

    That DINK couple, now a DIWK (with kids) couple now has to spend at least $55k, leaving $5k left. So it’s just a fact that if you did have kids, it would cost more. That doesn’t meant you shouldn’t feel any less good about your financial achievements (they’re great, keep it up). Nor should couples with kids feel bad that they have expenses either, they should feel great for what they achieve.

    When you do have kids, I’m sure you’ll be in a great financial position 🙂

    Tristan

    1. Tristan, thanks for the comprehensive comment! I should have clarified the reason for my initial inclination to feel insulted; my dad used to jokingly call me and my siblings “dinks” whenever we were clumsy or otherwise foolish. When my co-worker dropped the term for the first time, I was both caught off-guard and unaware of its meaning.

      Like you said, being a DINK or MINK has its advantages, so we are trying to flex our financial muscle as much as possible in the short-term.

  16. I think I’m KRASI (Kids R Adults Single Income)! I am divorced and have 3 grown children who are all DINKS for now.

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